The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released an in-depth report on the potential for clean energy development in Mexico. The Mexico Clean Energy Report concludes that, in light of this potential and the low cost of renewable energy generation, Mexico is ideally poised to become a clean energy powerhouse. According to the report, rapid growth in renewable energy deployment could enable Mexico to achieve its 35% clean energy generation goal by 2024, generate high levels of investment, increase energy access, reduce costs to consumers, and – together with other technical measures – improve the reliability and resilience of Mexico’s power system.
“Mexico can be a clean energy powerhouse and a vital part of maintaining North America’s competitive edge around the world,” states Martin Keller, NREL Laboratory’s director. “Realizing this potential will require energy policies that facilitate private investment and support our joint efforts on clean energy, climate, and supply chains.”
Mexico’s large and diverse renewable energy resource base could support significant growth in clean generation capacity. National technical potential includes 24,918 GW of solar photovoltaics, 3,669 GW of wind, 2.5 GW of conventional geothermal, and 1.2 GW of additional capacity from existing hydropower facilities – all combined, enough to meet the country’s electricity needs a hundred times over.
Even in the short term, with sufficient private sector investment, Mexico could realize this potential quickly, bringing online 15,257 MW of renewable energy. With this investment, the cost of producing electricity could be significantly reduced, saving the national system $1.1 billion, as well as generating $17 billion in new investment opportunities, creating over 72,000 jobs, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
The findings in this study underscore that private sector investment is critical for Mexico to achieve its clean energy goals. The investments needed to achieve these gains, however, would have a very low probability of occurring if changes are made to Mexico’s current legal, regulatory, and electricity market frameworks that would result in significant barriers to market entry.
The NREL report reinforces the critical role that Mexico can play as a clean energy leader to propel North American competitiveness, a message that U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm expressed during her visit to Mexico in January 2022.
Read the complete NREL report here.